Anita’s known ancestry has a much longer tenancy in North America than Ed’s. It includes the Mullinaux family, originally from France, who first emigrated to Lower Canada (now Quebec). Over several succeeding generations, they moved farther south, first to Illinois and then across the Ohio River into Kentucky.
Of course, Anita has several other names in her family tree. At the moment she knows of ancestors named Hisky, Poindexter, Harwell, Carroll and Clarke (which also appears in Ed’s family tree–hmm).
Love Denied, Twice, Then Secretly Acquired
In the years around the U.S. Civil War when the family lived either in Kentucky or Tennessee, a young girl in the family fell in love and asked her family’s permission to marry. But when the family learned the groom-to-be was the son of northern sympathizers, they forbade the marriage. Family ties were strong and the young girl, undoubtedly heartbroken, had to stop seeing the young man.
But youth is resilient and she soon fell in love again. Youth may also be overly romantic and even fatalistic because the new young man came from a family that had been feuding with the girl’s family for generations. And so, this marriage was also forbidden.
Finally, and probably with some wisdom about who to ask and who not to, when she fell in love again, she married the young man before telling the family. Rumor says their marriage was a stormy one but ten surviving children says a lot as does a relationship that lasted decades into old age and, eventually, the passing of husband and wife.
Who is to say what gave that relationship the ability to last?
The second great battle in the American Civil War took place in western Tennessee near the town of Shiloh, named for the church that took that biblical name. That fierce battle, also called the battle of Pittsburgh Landing, took place on April 6 and 7, 1862. Both sides lost in excess of 10,000 men and although the Confederate troops were forced to withdraw, the heavy losses crippled both sides.
Concerning her Tennessee roots Anita points out, “Many of my ancestors, especially the Poindexters and a couple of Carrolls, lived near, attended and are buried in the graveyard of the Shiloh church in westernTennessee. The Civil War battle took place, literally, in the backyards and fields of my family.”
On one visit to the church’s cemetery, Anita found the grave markers of many of her direct ancestors named Carroll and Poindexter.
“These are my most immediate connections, these people, this land. But I also want to go father back to the Mullineaux family and my roots in France,” Anita says.
The Issy de Moulinaux Neighborhood
In February of 2001, Anita and Ed made the trip. They spent two weeks in or near Paris and, while there, discovered the environ of the Issy de Moulinaux, a suburb of Paris itself.
Could this be the same Mullinaux?
Anita and Ed visited the area one day, “just to see what it looks like.” Many, many years ago it was probably a separate town and not part of the Paris metropolitan area. Walking the streets, Ed and Anita found what must’ve been the old town center complete with businesses, shops, brasseries, cafes and restaurants.
Stopping for an early dinner near the central square, they struggled to order because, unlike central Paris, absolutely no one would attempt to comprehend English. It was either order in French or go hungry.
So they each pointed at something different but unknown on the menu hoping that, between the two meals, they would have at least one that was edible.
Waiting for the mystery food to arrive, they studied the people streaming by outside. It was an ideal location because, periodically, large groups of individuals would erupt from the underground Metro station just opposite the restaurant. They would disperse into shops and cafes or congregate at bus stops. A few hiked up or down the sloping streets into the surrounding neighborhoods.
There was lots of time to look at their faces.
About the time Ed and Anita finished their meals of something-meat and something-pasta, both with something-sauce, Ed studied Anita’s face for several moments before saying, “You know, quite a few of the people walking by look like you. Their faces have the same shape, their eyes are the same color, and their hair is almost exactly the same shade of auburn.”
And as we wandered the neighborhood after our meal before the evening closed in, more than one person came up out of the subway, looked around for a moment and then, noticing Anita, walked up and addressed her in French to ask for local directions. They obviously took her not only for a Parisian but for someone who had lived her whole life in this very neighborhood.
I think we saw many of Anita’s distant relatives that day walking the streets in the Issy de Moulinaux.
Growing Up in Memphis Tennessee
In her childhood, Anita has fond memories of the Porter-Leath Home in Memphis. She remembers Sky Blue Popsicles on hot, summer days, walking to the Guthrie Elementary school, and getting out of school to attend the Mid-South Fair each year.
And Anita is quick to point out that her school was near Humes High School; “I probably walked right past Elvis Presley every morning!”
Anita’s Dad was nick-named “Cotton” for his blond hair (almost gone in this photo). In the second World War he was a gunner on a B-24 bomber and successfully completed thirty-five combat missions over Europe before a swimming accident while on leave took his life.
Anita’s mother was a riveter in an airplane factory. (If only her name had been “Rosie.”)
“We have lots of relatives in Kentucky, around Paducah, and most years there’s a big reunion. We’re pretty far away now but Ed says he will attend the next one with me.
“Anyone named Carroll or Poindexter or any of a half-dozen other names is going to be related.”
Ed smiles, “I’ll bring the computer.”